1. Who is required to have a background check?

Anyone working or volunteering under a Purchased Client Services (PCS) contract that will have direct contact with DFPS clients or DFPS client information is required to undergo a background check through DFPS.  There are some exceptions, which are identified within the DFPS Purchased Client Services Background Check Policy (see Section 2340, Background Checks for Residential Operations Regulated by Child Care Licensing ) and in the PCS Background Check Exemption Chart.

2. Are certain contractors and contractor staff exempt from the background check requirements?

Yes.  A complete list of exemptions can be found in the PCS Background Check Exemption Chart.  Further explanation of residential child care exemptions can be found in the DFPS Purchased Client Services Background Check Policy (see Section 2340, Background Checks for Residential Operations Regulated by Child Care Licensing).

3. When are background check renewals due?

After the initial background check is requested, a new background check request must be submitted every 24 months, based on the original request date.

4. I have a cleared background check for someone under one contract number, but they also plan to work/volunteer under another contract. Must they submit to a background check under each contract number?

If a contractor or contractor staff is providing services under multiple contracts, duplicate background checks under each contract are not required as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Services are being provided under the auspices of the same legal entity,
  • The person is providing services in the same role under each contract, and
  • The background check on file is current within the previous 24 months.

If all of the above conditions are met, the contractor has the option to either:

  • Provide their contract manager with a copy of the background check clearance or risk evaluation approval notification, or
  • Continue to submit a new background check under each contract number in ABCS.
5. My operation is a Residential Services contractor who follows the background check requirements for Residential Child Care Licensing. Do we have to submit background checks in ABCS for our staff and volunteers?

If a residential operation is licensed to provide 24-hour residential child care and is also under contract with DFPS to provide other purchased client services, the operation is only required to conduct a PCS background check in accordance with the DFPS Purchased Client Services Background Check policy in addition to a completed Licensing background check if:

6. Why is a new background check needed if a person changes roles under my contract?

Many of the background check assessments that DFPS makes are based on the role of the person who is the subject of the background check.  A person who's an administrative office assistant will have very different job duties and a different level of client interaction than that of a counselor.  DFPS needs to be able to consider the amount and type of client interaction when assessing the risk posed by certain background check results.

7. What is the definition of a Principal for a PCS Contract?

A principal is any person who has the ability to make ultimate fiscal decisions on behalf of the contractor. Persons with the following titles or roles are automatically considered to be principals:

  • Executive director
  • Chief executive officer
  • Comptroller
  • Signature authority
  • Chief financial officer

A principal may also be:

  • Anyone who fulfills these roles but who may be a subcontractor.
  • An entity that manages financial or accounting operations.
8. Who is required to complete an FBI fingerprint-based background check?

Contractors and PCS contractor staff who have lived outside of Texas within the past five years. Fingerprint-based criminal history checks may also be required by DFPS for good cause, such as a reasonable belief that a contractor or PCS contractor staff may have out-of-state criminal history.

9. How do I submit my fingerprints for an FBI check?

Once a request for an FBI check is submitted through ABCS, the subject of the background check must submit fingerprints to complete the process. When conducting fingerprint-based criminal history checks, DFPS utilizes an electronic fingerprint submission process. See the CBCU Fingerprinting page for more information.

10. How much does an FBI fingerprint check cost?

The total fingerprinting fee is $38.50 to apply for a paid position. The total fee is $37.25 to apply for an unpaid position - such as a volunteer. However, DFPS absorbs the DPS and FBI portion of this fee, and the contractor is only required to pay $11.50 of the total fee.  See the FBI Fingerprinting Fees section on the CBCU Fingerprinting page for more information.

11. What if I request an FBI check in error or the FBI check is no longer needed?

If an FBI check was requested in error or is no longer needed, please notify the Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU) through the PCS Background Check mailbox at pcsbc@dfps.state.tx.us. CBCU staff are required to follow up regularly on FBI checks that are incomplete, so it’s important to cancel these checks when they are not required.

12. How do I submit a background check request?
Contractors complete and sign Form 2971c Request for Criminal History and DFPS History Check” and Form 2970C “Disclosure and Consent to Release of Information Regarding Criminal or Abuse/Neglect History” for each contractor and PCS contractor staff for which a background check is requested. Contractors complete a written response to each question listed on Form 2970c. After obtaining the completed background forms, contractors will submit background check requests through ABCS (Automated Background Check System).
13. I received background check results that indicate a person has a criminal charge with an unknown disposition. What do I need to do?

The contractor is required to provide court documentation that clarifies the final disposition for this individual’s criminal history. Copies of documentation already in the individual's possession are acceptable. If the individual does not have this documentation, he/she is required to obtain the necessary documentation from the County Clerk or District Attorney in the county where the offense occurred.

The contractor has thirty days from the date of the notice to submit the documentation to DFPS via email, fax, regular mail or by uploading them to ABCS.  The person is not eligible to work or volunteer with DFPS clients under the contract until DFPS receives the needed documentation and notifies the contractor that the background check is resolved.  Failure to provide the needed documentation in the specified timeframe will result in the person being barred from working or volunteering under the contract.

14. I received background check results that indicate a person is barred from working under my contract. What do I need to do?
It's your responsibility to make sure this person is not working with DFPS clients and has no access to clients or client records.  You should also save the letter for your records.
15. I received background check results that indicate a person requires a Risk Evaluation to work under my contract. What do I need to do?

If you choose to move forward with hiring this person to work under your DFPS contract, you will need to submit a Risk Evaluation within 30 days of the date of the letter.  To submit the Risk Evaluation, carefully follow the checklist on Form 2973c.  You can send the documents by regular mail, fax, email or by uploading them to ABCS. 

If you need more than 30 days to submit the Risk Evaluation, you may request an extension by contacting the Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU) representative that sent you the letter offering the risk evaluation.  You must submit your request prior to the deadline stated in the letter.

16. After I submit a Request for Risk Evaluation, how long before a determination will be made about the person’s ability to work under my contract?
Once all materials for the risk evaluation have been submitted to the Centralized Background Check Unit (CBCU), the decision regarding the outcome of the risk evaluation generally takes about a week.  You may follow up with the CBCU representative who has been assisting you with the risk evaluation process if you have further questions about timeframes regarding a risk evaluation decision.
17. Who will receive the results of a Request for Risk Evaluation?

The results of the Risk Evaluation (approval or denial) will be sent to the email address for the requestor as it’s listed in ABCS. If the requestor does not have an email address listed in ABCS, the automated results will be sent to the main provider email address listed in ABCS.

For help, call the Background Check Support Line at 1-800-645-7549
(available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Central Time).

Or e-mail PCS Background Checks.

Last updated: December 18, 2016